First Impression is the Best Impression

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In just seconds humans can form lasting first impressions of others. Do you remember your first impression of a coworker, friend, or significant other? Research suggests these first impressions carry more weight than later information on an overall impression. This is because they help us form mental outlines, which we use to process later information. So, for example, if your first impression of a coworker is that he or she is lazy – you are likely to see his or her later actions as attempts at laziness (He or she stays home sick because she is just lazy, not because she is really all that ill).

Since “first glances” are so important, we need to learn to influence the first impressions of others so they do not come to the wrong conclusion. These days we are commonly coached on how to make a great first impression in a job interview or when trying to sell a home. But the first impressions generated when meeting the parents of a girlfriend or boyfriend can be just as important. These individuals are most likely an important part of your significant other’s life and could become a central part of your life in the future.

Does and Don’ts of Meeting Your Girl/Boyfriend’s Parents

DO relax. Realize they are humans just like you!

DO bring something (small) if you are visiting their home. Perhaps a small batch of cookies or a bottle of wine.

DON’T be late!

DO wear proper attire for the occasion.

DO smile!

DON’T try to tackle the touchy topics on the first visit.

DO offer to help clean up!

DO something fun with your significant other after the visit to help relieve stress.

DON’T be critical of his or her parents. If something did go wrong during the visit, discuss this with your significant other privately afterwards, and focus on your feelings rather than on them

Remember you only have one chance to make a great first impression!

Larissa Ferretti

For further reading on first impressions, pick up Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink.”

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